JOLIET – Former Lewis University golfer Jim Brewer, a Frankfort resident for the past decade, turned “even-par” 36 Friday.
To help celebrate, he took a ride to Joliet for course manager Brian Legan’s 12th annual Long Drive Contest at Inwood. It could not have worked out better.
Brewer and Patrick McCarthy were the final two players in the Open division to hit their six tee shots. The numbers atop the leaderboard at that point included Steve Tubman with a 344-yard drive, Devyn Boswell 343 and Frank Hohenadel 342.
On his fifth ball, Brewer put a
347-yard smash inside the grid, which was about 40 yards wide. Shots from some of the nearly 20 participants in the Open division might have challenged that distance but were outside the grid and thus did not count. On his final ball, McCarthy nailed a 342-yard drive to share fourth place with Hohenadel.
“I just got back from the long-drive world qualifier in Memphis,” Brewer said. “I’ve been going to long-drive contests the last two years. My longest drive in competition has been 380 yards, but I have hit them 400.”
The contest is a different game than the usual round of golf.
“This is fun,” Brewer said. “The music’s playing, there’s a crowd out here watching. The adrenaline gets going, and you let it rip.
“My dad, Mike, deserves the credit. He’s been helping me with my swing, tooling my long-drive game. You would never want to use that swing on the course because you don’t know where it’s going to go. That’s a tight grid, but all you have to do is get one good one inside it.”
Tubman had been atop the leader board almost from the get-go.
“I knew some of those good young guys were coming up at the end,” he said. “There are lots of great players here. I’m not complaining. I’ll take 344.”
In the MAC (Middle Age Crisis) division for the 45 to 54 age range, defending champion Tony Giese ripped a 336-yarder to beat runner-up Ted Brodeur’s 306 by 30 yards.
“He’s got 50 pounds and eight inches on me,” explained Brodeur, the director of revenue facilities for the Joliet Park District.
“It was downwind, that’s why it went 336,” Giese said. “This is good fun. It adds interest in what’s going on here.”
Chi Kovel finished third in the MAC at 303, followed by John Platt 299 and Al Van Gampler 296.
Mike Mores thought he was out to sit in the bleachers and support his friend, Van Gampler, who also participated in the Seniors division.
“Somebody didn’t show up,” Mores said. “Chi Kovel let me use his club and glove.”
Wearing flip-flops, Mores swung Kovel’s driver and connected on a 299-yarder to win the Seniors title. Kovel was second at 285 and Greg Kent third at 281.
Mores also might have won the overall title in another category. “I got five of the six on the grid,” he said.
The event is sponsored by Miller and Coors beer and begins with “Miller Man” Matt Darnowski hitting the inaugural shot. Regardless of the distance anyone else achieved, Darnowski’s 295 remained at the very top of the board throughout.